All good managers want to build a thriving, happy team.

Yet, many employees are not satisfied.

Only 40% of employees are happy with their job.

This is a big problem.

High employee satisfaction leads to lower staff turnover and better job performance. If you want to get more from your team, you need to make sure they’re happy with their jobs.

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The correlation between employee satisfaction and engagement

When employees are engaged, they’re dedicated to helping their company achieve its goals. They’re committed and effective at work, and they constantly look for ways to improve. Employee satisfaction, on the other hand, is more about whether or not team members feel happy and fulfilled. Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with your company for a long time.

It’s possible for some employees to be satisfied with their job without being highly motivated and engaged.

Think about the type of person who only wants a secure, comfortable job. They might be highly satisfied with their position and still show low engagement.

However, you can’t have high engagement with low satisfaction. Very few people can stay motivated and productive when they’re unhappy. Improving job satisfaction is one of the first steps towards increasing engagement.

Even for employees who will never be highly engaged, though, it’s still important for you to measure and promote employee satisfaction.

Here’s why:

The importance of measuring employee satisfaction

Measuring employee satisfaction correctly tells you how your team really feels. You can use that information to improve all of these things:

  • Employee retention – It’s hard to keep employees around if they’re not happy working for you. Satisfied employees are less likely to leave for a different job.
  • Productivity – It makes sense that dissatisfied employees won’t put in the same effort at work as those who are actually happy with their job. Satisfied employees tend to be twice as productive compared to their dissatisfied coworkers.
  • Company culture – Dissatisfied employees can become toxic over time, hurting company culture and creating a bad work environment. Satisfied employees, on the other hand, are more likely to be supportive and enthusiastic.

6 methods of measuring employee satisfaction

You might think that your employees are happy with their jobs because you never hear them complain.

Actually, it’s a warning sign if your team never comes to you with concerns. They might not trust you enough to be honest about their feelings towards their job.

That’s why it’s so important to gather feedback the right way.

You’ll get incomplete (or inaccurate) information if you judge satisfaction by watching the way your team acts.

Asking face-to-face is problematic, too. Your team needs to feel safe enough to be honest. Even if you have a good relationship with your team, they may hold back because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

Use one of these methods to more accurately measure employee satisfaction:

1. Conduct employee satisfaction surveys

An employee satisfaction survey is one of the best methods. You’ll get a baseline measurement and learn more about what employees like and dislike.

Tools like Google Forms are easy to use, or you might opt for a more specialized program like OfficeVibe.

We’ll talk more about specialized software later. For now, just make sure that your survey software is easy to set up, simple for your team to use, and the feedback can be kept 100% anonymous.

You can use surveys to measure satisfaction in specific areas like management expectations, coworker relationships, stress levels, and career progression.

When designing an employee satisfaction survey, make sure that the questions you include are easy to understand. Avoid ambiguity. Have a friend or colleague read your survey before sending it out.

Include both open-ended and multiple choice questions. This creates a good mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

Here are a few questions to consider asking in your survey:

  • Are you happy with the opportunities for growth available in the company? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • Do you feel that you’re adequately rewarded for your dedication and commitment toward your work? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • Do you enjoy being a member of your team? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • Does your team provide you with the support you need at work? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • Do you think your team respects your personal time? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • If you encounter an issue at work, do you know who to reach out to for a solution? (Open answer)
  • How often do you feel stressed out at work? (Open answer)
  • Do you think that work is evenly distributed among members of your team? (Rate from 1 to 10)
  • How would you improve the way work is distributed? (Open answer)

You should include enough questions to get the data you need, but not so many that employees won’t have the patience to complete the survey. Consider doing a monthly survey on a specific topic like communication, teamwork, or growth opportunities.

We’ve developed an employee satisfaction survey template you can use to create your next survey. Download it here:

Finally, remember that acting on employees’ feedback is crucial.

If you simply ask for their opinion and then do nothing about it, how do you think they’re going to feel?

Not that great.

Once you’ve analyzed the survey data, you’ll want to devise specific strategies that will help to improve employee satisfaction and then work on implementing these as soon as possible. Consider sharing some of your findings with the team to show them that you care about their opinions and are willing to take action to improve.

2. Use the employee satisfaction index (ESI)

The Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI) measures the extent to which employees are satisfied with their job.

You can determine it by surveying employees using the following three questions:

  • How satisfied are you with your workplace?
  • How well does your workplace meet your expectations?
  • How close is your workplace to your ideal job?

Employees answer all three questions on a scale of 1 to 10. You then calculate ESI as follows:

Employee satisfaction index formula

The result is a number between 1 and 100, with a higher score indicating greater employee satisfaction.

You can add your ESI questions to an existing survey or send out those questions alone. ESI is usually used alongside other methods, such as more comprehensive employee satisfaction surveys, to provide a more detailed insight into employee satisfaction.

You can use it to measure employees’ overall satisfaction with their workplace, as well as their satisfaction with specific aspects of their job (e.g., salary or company culture).

If you decide to use ESI to measure employees’ satisfaction with a specific aspect of their job instead of their overall satisfaction, you’ll need to modify the three questions to reflect that.

3. Use the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

The Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a metric that can show you how employees feel about your company.

It’s calculated based on a survey that asks employees a single question:

On a scale of zero to ten, how likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work?

Based on their answers, you can divide employees into the following groups:

  • Promoters – Those who responded to the question with a nine or a ten are considered promoters. These people can provide valuable insights on what your company is doing right.
  • Passives – Employees who responded with a seven or an eight are categorized as passives. They don’t feel strongly about your company either way. You should always look for ways to turn these employees into promoters and prevent them from becoming detractors.
  • Detractors – Those who responded with anything between zero and six are called detractors. These people aren’t satisfied with their job and are likely to leave the company. Detractors can tell you a lot about your opportunities for improvement.

To calculate your eNPS, you’ll need to subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

ePNS formula

This will give you a score between -100 and 100.

Any positive score is considered good. Scores below zero are a warning sign that you need to work on employee satisfaction.

It’s best to use eNPS alongside other methods such as external evaluations, employee satisfaction surveys, and exit interview data. Using a combination of two or more methods gives you a more accurate view.

If you decide to use eNPS, don’t fall into the trap of trying to compare your scores with industry or competitor benchmarks you find online.

There are plenty of different factors that can influence the differences in scores between companies. Instead of comparing your score with that of the competition, focus on improving your eNPS every quarter or year.

4. Have 1-on-1 meetings

We told you earlier that face-to-face meetings aren’t as reliable as anonymous feedback, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. 1-on-1 meetings help you to understand each individual employee’s needs and concerns.

These types of meetings usually last around 30 minutes. However, you can make them shorter or longer depending on the situation and your needs.

For best results, hold 1-on-1 meetings at regular intervals (e.g., weekly, biweekly, or monthly).

During these meetings, talk about:

  • The employee’s current emotional state
  • Their performance and progression towards goals
  • Any obstacles that might be preventing them from reaching their goals

You might ask followup questions like:

  • What keeps you inspired and engaged to do your job?
  • Do you have any concerns about your career opportunities?
  • Are your job expectations realistic?
  • Is there a task or activity you want to spend more time on?
  • Have you noticed anything the company isn’t doing well? Do you have any suggestions for processes we could improve?
  • Do you have everything you need to complete all your assigned tasks?
  • If you could change anything about your job, what would it be?

5. Install an employee suggestion box

Your employees probably have plenty of things to say about your company. However, they might not feel comfortable doing so publicly. This is where an employee suggestion box can help.

Installing an employee suggestion box in your office is a great way to encourage employees to voice their opinions and concerns without fearing that they’ll get punished for it in one way or another. Think of it as feedback without worrying over payback.

You’ll get feedback when the situation calls for it. Instead of waiting for you to ask the right questions, your team can share their thoughts in the moment.

As a side benefit, suggestion boxes also help communication between employees and management. They’re excellent for innovation, creativity, and problem solving.

Note that you don’t have to use a physical suggestion box. You can set up a virtual one using your website or a dedicated app. As long as it’s possible to make suggestions anonymously, use whatever tool you want.

If you do decide to install a physical suggestion box in your office, make sure that it’s visible and easily accessible to all employees. Put it in a shared space where people won’t feel like they’re being watched. A table right outside your office is probably not a good choice, but the lunchroom counter is fine.

It’s also important to let all your employees know about your new suggestion box and encourage them to contribute. Of course, adding suggestions into the box should be voluntary — don’t try to force employees to participate.

If you get a lot of negative comments, you obviously have some changes to make.

Acting on suggestions from your team shows them how much you value their input and contribution.

Imagine that a dissatisfied employee submits a suggestion, and they quickly see the positive change they requested. How do you think they feel when they see that their feedback made a difference?

6. Use specialized software

Since employee satisfaction is so important, there’s an entire software industry dedicated to it.

In fact, Hubstaff uses one of these programs to check in with our own team. As a remote company, we find it especially important to keep track of our team’s status.

Officevibe

Officevibe

Officevibe is an employee engagement platform that allows companies to boost employee engagement and satisfaction. You can use it to keep an eye on your culture and help drive positive change.

It supports pulse surveys, anonymous feedback, and 1-on-1 meetings.

We use Officevibe’s Slack integration to conduct short, anonymous questionnaires twice per month. Managers can respond to feedback without breaking anonymity. That allows us to address any concerns directly while the employee still feels safe.

TINYpulse

TINYpulse

TINYpulse is an engagement and feedback solution that helps businesses improve communication and transparency, as well as reduce employee turnover.

You can use TINYpulse to collect employee feedback continuously, manage 1-on-1 meetings, and handle performance reviews.

15Five

15Five

15Five is a performance management tool that supports performance reviews, custom employee surveys, check-ins, and 1-on-1 meetings.

You can also use it to manage your employee recognition program, which is vital.

We’ll discuss recognition more in the next section.

Culture Amp

Culture Amp

Culture Amp calls itself “the people & culture platform.” Instead of a single program, it’s more of an ecosystem with multiple products working together.

It helps you boost engagement, increase satisfaction, and improve retention.

Culture Amp includes features like employee surveys, performance reviews, 1-on-1 meetings, and goal tracking.

How to improve employee satisfaction

Your survey results will help you spot the problem areas that hurt your team’s morale and job satisfaction. Address those things as you find them.

But you don’t need to wait for survey results to start improving employee satisfaction. These four habits will help you address the most common reasons that team members are dissatisfied.

Recognize and reward employees’ achievements and success

Everyone enjoys being praised and rewarded for their work.

By recognizing employees’ achievements and success, you make them feel more valued. It creates a shared sense of accomplishment for the entire team.

Recognize accomplishments in every setting. You can thank team members publicly in meetings or Slack. During private meetings, make sure you call attention to the things you appreciate about that employee. Get in the habit of finding things to praise.

Recognition is even more valuable when you put your money where your mouth is.

Reward employees for their achievements. This applies to both individuals and teams. Be creative, especially if you’re on a tight budget. Try things like:

  • Giving a small bonus or gift card
  • Buying lunch
  • Offering a paid afternoon off work
  • Throwing a small party during work hours
  • Reserving the best parking place for someone

The most important thing is that your team feels appreciated for their work.

Make sure to thank your team for getting the job done every day, not just when they go far above and beyond expectations. Being consistent and reliable is important to your team’s success, and those people are often overlooked.

Avoid micromanagement

If you tend to micromanage employees, they feel that you either don’t trust them or you think they’re incompetent.

This can increase employees’ stress levels and strain work relationships.

Employee satisfaction isn’t the only reason to avoid micromanagement. You’ll also get less work done and put yourself and your team at higher risk of burnout.

Help employees take care of their health

It’s hard for employees to feel positive about work if they’re dealing with health issues.

Help your team stay healthy by:

  • Providing healthy meals and snacks
  • Using ergonomic office furniture
  • Encouraging employees to take regular breaks
  • Paying for employees’ gym membership
  • Offering access to mental health apps or services
  • Allowing employees to take guilt-free time off when they’re sick

It might not be within your budget to give your team a bunch of health perks. That’s okay. Give them time and encouragement, and set the right example by making your own health a priority.

Provide opportunities for professional development and growth

Help employees develop the skills they need to grow. Some leaders hesitate to invest in their team’s career growth because they worry that they’ll pay for all that training, then the person will take those skills somewhere else.

That will happen. You’ll invest in people and they’ll leave.

But it’s worse if you don’t invest in people and they stay.

You don’t have to provide the training yourself. Consider offering to reimburse people for the training and workshops they attend on their own time. You can also buy a subscription to an online training program and allow your team to access it.

Most importantly, make sure that your employees have the time they need to upskill.

It’s no use offering to pay for training if you expect people to work at peak productivity for 55 hours every week. They won’t have the time or energy to do it. Allow a certain amount of work hours each month for your employees to develop and grow.

Building employee satisfaction means building employees up

As a leader, employee satisfaction is one of your most important responsibilities.

Getting honest feedback from your team is non-negotiable. After all, you can’t build your employees up if you don’t know what issues you need to address.

This also takes quite a bit of effort to truly measure and understand, since there’s no one KPI  that tells you exactly how employees feel.

When you’re ready to start making more improvements, check out these proven strategies for motivating remote teams and increasing employee productivity.